UNLIKE some Herald readers I am not outraged at Nicola Sturgeon's five appearances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, as she is merely playing to her skillset.

She simply has no answer or solution to the myriad problems we presently face. So her strategy after eight years has not changed. Self-promotion while tirelessly banging on about an independence referendum has up until now served her very well indeed. She has played a blinder, but now events and public perception are finally catching up, people are less and less impressed by her empty celebrity brand of politics (I think of her as the Holyrood version of Kim Kardashian) and she undoubtedly knows this, which makes it understandable that she is putting herself in the shop window for future employment.

For Scotland's sake I wish her all the luck in the world.

David Crawford, Bonhill.


WHILE the leaderless UK slips into debt and recession, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, in their long Tory leadership campaign, have shown their ignorance and disrespect for Scotland. Ms Truss would simply ignore the democratically-elected First Minister, while Mr Sunak would systematically undermine the devolution settlement.

In abandoning “Four Nations” Conservatism, along with devolution, in favour of a central, insular British Brexit state, this will hasten an independent Scotland, Wales, Irish re-unification and the final break-up of the post-imperial United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore.


MARK Smith’s analysis of Nicola Sturgeon’s surprising declaration of “Britishness” (“Five questions I want to ask about Sturgeon’s ‘Britishness’”, The Herald, August 29) was enlightening. Like the First Minister and many, perhaps most, of us who live in the north of Britain, I occasionally experience a mild form of cognitive dissonance when it comes to self-identity. How else to explain the intense feeling of awe when Cwm Rhondda is belted out by Welsh rugby supporters, and why do I cheer on the English cricket team, while not having the foggiest notion of what is really happening?

These matters defy interpretation, but I recognise that to turn permanently away from our fellow citizens and reject our common purpose and culture would not come free of charge ... although it always feels better when Scotland wins.

Bob Scott, Drymen.


MARK Smith, employing his characteristic Nelson's eye, agrees with Nicola Sturgeon's view that we are all British due to Scotland being part of the British Isles. Try selling that one to the entire population of the island of Ireland.

Great Britain is a geographical entity and does not in any way qualify for the designation of a nation. The term "nation" is applied to the population of a territory where long-established historical, cultural and linguistic identity exists. The experience of two world wars forged a strong identity with Britishness but that has steadily faded over my lifetime, which dates back to the Second World War. I identify strongly with Scottish nationality but the suggestion that I should identify my nationality as British stirs absolutely no emotion in me.

Many in England use the terms "English" and "British" interchangeably and are happy to display the Union flag as the flag of England. This is because they regard Scotlandshire as just another county of England. I have never observed the converse behaviour at Scottish events. To add to the confusion, athletes from Northern Ireland compete as part of "Team GB" rather than "Team UK" at the Olympic Games.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

• WHEN a citizen of the United States says he is American, he is right, but he would deny he was Canadian or South American. He assumes that “America” means the USA.

When Scotland is independent (like the United States) Scots will still be British, but they will be in charge of their own affairs. I suspect the British Government will still assume that "Britain” means England.

John Kelly, Edinburgh.


RUTH Marr (Letters, August 26) trumpets the fact that the Scottish Government can so better look after our financial affairs that she enjoys free prescriptions. While holidaying recently in Norfolk, she thinks it "quite shocking that the person in front of her in a chemists shop had to pay £9.35 for medicine", which she considers to be an outrage.

It may be that if the same person did not have to contribute towards the £2,000 per person yearly subsidy that we enjoy every year from England, he might not have to pay for his prescription and indeed could afford to have a couple of holidays in Scotland into the bargain.

It was Milton Friedman who stated the obvious: "There is no such thing as a free lunch."

Robin Johnston, Newton Mearns.


IF, as seems increasingly likely, Liz Truss becomes our next Prime Minister, she will be compelled by social and economic reality to abandon her absurd Thatcherite rhetoric and bluster in favour of measures of massive state intervention aimed at averting social catastrophe; catastrophe affecting not just the feckless and good-for-nothing poor of Tory mythology but much of their core support. It is one thing seeking to convince the Tory membership comprising 0.3 per cent of the adult population, quite another when faced with the real world.

This will be the third time this century that the state, following Covid and the collapse of the capitalist financial and banking system of 2008, has been required to take such action. The City whizz kids and the captains of industry appear to have taken leave of absence. The paradox is that this comes in a period when dominant economic ideologies have stressed small government, free markets and minimal taxation to "incentivise". Every British government of the last 40 years including, shamefully, the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, has subscribed to this approach. The Labour Party, constantly reacting to events and preoccupied with short-term thinking, has no real analysis of British capitalism. That such an analysis and understanding is necessary is shown by recurring crises.

The state with increasing frequency cannot be called on to bail out a bankrupt system which works in the interests of the few at the expense of the vast mass of hard working people.

Brian Harvey, Hamilton.


ONE thing that seems to be almost completely absent from any of the announcements from the current Chancellor, the Prime Minister and the two candidates to replace him is the impact the energy price is having on the cost of living as a whole, as opposed to domestic energy bills. The argument is focused on what level of income an individual needs in order to be able to afford to pay their gas and electricity bills, and hence where to target support.

If the soaring rate of inflation is to be tackled, a much more fundamental approach is needed. The answer to this will not be found in ever-increasing interest rates, general tax cuts or incessant railing against people who would like an inflation-linked pay rise. None of these will solve the underlying problem that is driving millions into poverty and many small to medium-sized businesses towards bankruptcy. Neither will freezing the domestic energy price cap, which will not help reduce general inflation and result in the Government having to bale out energy supply companies.

The only sensible solution is either temporary, or preferably permanent, restructuring of the wholesale energy market in such a way as to push more of the burden back on to the energy producers, where the vast bulk of the excess profits are being made, rather than the suppliers.

A windfall tax seems a very clumsy and illogical method of addressing these profits, particularly when the proceeds vanish into the abyss of general taxation while the government continues on its already established, but increasingly ineffectual course.

Cameron Crawford, Rothesay.

• THE news is currently dominated by huge energy price rises (“Energy crisis could lead to blackouts in winter”, The Herald, August 29). But there's one silver lining to this cloud. The UK is on track to getting most of its energy from the wind in years to come. The UK's so-called metered wind farms with an on-paper capacity of 19,932 MW (megawatts) were left standing on Saturday (August 27) as the UK was becalmed and the electricity generated by them collapsed to a paltry 241 MW. And over the previous month similar failures had happened three times.

In the dystopian future during such energy shortages only “important” people like government departments will get electricity. But at least ordinary people will not be getting billed for electricity that's not there.

Geoff Moore, Alness.

Read more: Indy Scotland will be a huge advance on today's version